Calls on NMA to team with his gov’t to address problems in health sector

Paul Orude, Bauchi

Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed has described the discovery of 100 ghost doctors drawing salary in the State as shameful.

The Governor made this known when he received officials of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the State who paid him a courtesy call at Government Hosue, Bauchi, on Tuesday.

‘You know our inadequacies and limitations as a state. We don’t have Internally Generated Revenue and we have ghost workers within your profession, which is a shame,’ he said

‘We discovered 100 doctors; some of them are not doctors, drawing salaries as doctors. We have the political will to address it irrespective of the challenge of blackmail.

‘It is a flourishing industry where people are making billions a month. If we will have only 50 doctors on board and we have 100 outside drawing salaries, even if they are ghost doctors not to talk of ghost workers, they are ghost doctors because I don’t believe they are doctors, a doctor will not do that.’

The Governor explained that the situation is so bad that some of the ghost doctors are living in Egypt while drawing salaries from the State.

The Governor thanked the NMA officials for the visit and commended health workers, especially medical doctors in the State, for making huge sacrifices and risking their lives to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

‘We are extremely happy with you, especially during our challenge with COVID-19 despite your numerical disadvantage have made us proud,’ he said.

‘You have shown that you are professionals who can compete with others anywhere. With the little support we have given you which is your right, you put your lives on the line and none of you ran away as was reported in some state. You stood your ground and fought the scourge. Your names will be written in gold and no amount can be enough to appreciate you for what you did.’

Governor Mohammed explained that his administration declared a state of emergency in the health sector because of the huge problems inherited.

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‘Our health sector had deteriorated to the level that we have to call for emergency. We are left with no equipment to deliver, the ratio of doctors to patient is over 1000 and the demographics is making us have more population and we have barely 100 doctors for eight million citizens

‘In some hospitals we don’t have doctors, and at the primary health care centres forget about it because even auxiliary workers we don’t have. The doctors are jumping bonds because of the cluelessness of the previous administration to invoke the conditions and we are left in despondency and disillusion.’

He expressed optimism that the forthcoming health summit organised by the administration would put the problems in the sector in proper perspective I order to address them

‘I am challenging you doctors to come up with solutions. Bring them to the table so that we can address them. We know some of them by the surface but we are politicians and you are professional,’he said.

Earlier, the State NMA Chairman, Dr Adamu Sambo, applauded the Governor for declaring a state of emergency in the health sector, saying the administration means well for the over 8 million people of the state

‘From his body language he is not happy with the state of health in the State. The indices are poor and we are extremely delighted that the Governor has swung into action to address the ugly situation,’ he said.

Dr Sambo, who enumerated the problem bedeviling the health sector, commended the effort of the Governor, who set up a committee to renovate health facilities across the State

‘If the terms of reference are actualised, we believe that the health deficits in terms of structure and equipment will be addressed. This, we believe, is part of the strategic development plan of the administration for 2023,’ he stated.

On the issue of ghost doctors, the NMA Chairman said the association is disturbed by the number, especially on the State payroll.

‘We found out this long ago in previous administration, and submitted the names; yet they are still on the payroll because there was no political will to address it. We will support you to make sure we clean the payroll,’ Dr Sambo said.